When we think about arthritis, most of us imagine a situation in which the shock absorbing quality of cartilage that covers the ends of bones is deteriorated in a joint. As a result, we have a condition where there is bone-on-bone grinding against one another resulting in pain and loss of movement. This describes the most common form of arthritis known as osteoarthritis. It is important to note that many other forms of arthritis exist since their progression and treatment needs greatly vary. Other forms of arthritis include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis results in joint lining inflammation due to the body’s immune system activity. Normally the immune system targets that which is foreign to the body. However, in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks and injures our cells, tissues and organs.
- Gout, a defect in body chemistry, creates a painful condition most often attacking small joints, especially the big toe.
- Ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that affects the spine, results from an inflammatory process that leads to the bones of the spine to grow together.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (commonly called lupus) can inflame and damage joints and other connective tissues throughout the body.
- Fibromyalgia presents as widespread pain while affecting the muscles and tissues that attaches to bones.
So as you can appreciate from the above description that not all arthritis shows itself in the same way. During our Thriving with Arthritis Week at Canyon Ranch, it is part of our focus to appreciate the uniqueness of arthritis with each individual and to determine the underlying cause of arthritis. It is important to share time with a medical expert in understand the underlying causes of the pain, heat, swelling, redness and loss of function. Simply put, the correct diagnosis leads to the correct approach to healing and health.
Cheers to your health,